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Beyond Faria Lima is a series published every two weeks, focused on startups based away from Brazil’s financial center of Faria Lima, a famous avenue in São Paulo in a district where most funds and larger startups are based. The companies covered for the series haven’t yet raised funds with large institutional investors and are mostly bootstrapped or angel-backed.

Shifting paradigms in online teaching through a human touch and an accessible approach. This is the mission for Nubbi, an edtech from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. To achieve that goal, the company created the concept of “Learning Without Distance”, bringing the student closer to the content transmitted through technology and its own teaching methodology.

The startup was founded in 2018 in the charming Brazilian town of Poços de Caldas by CEO Marcus Lemos, alongside Gabriel Tatibana and Cláudio Almeida. Born from a 600,000 Brazilian reais ($120,000) bootstrap investment by Marcus and Cláudio (the partners invested $60,000 each), Nubbi wants to address, through vocational education, the limbo occupied by those who have not finished high school or have not attended a university.

“Our first challenge as a startup was to show that vocational education can be of quality and enable people to work in companies, even without a degree. The idea is for the student to finish the course being able to carry out a professional activity, leaving underemployment”, Lemos said.

Lemos’ mother was his great inspiration for the creation of the playful teaching methodology, with visually pleasing content and not only focused on technical lessons. A teacher at public schools in violent areas, she used play and games on a daily basis to promote a lighter kind of learning experience.

Marcus Lemos, founder and CEO of Nubbi

Professional courses

Currently, the edtech impacts over 3 million people through its platform, Leveduca. In the platform, the student has access to 220 professional courses, 20 of which are free. According to Marcus, for individual purchases (prices ranging from $20 to $400), the most sold courses are those related to electrical and industrial automation.

It is also possible to subscribe to Leveduca, with plans going for $6 to US$12 per month, which give access to more content and have additional services such as mentoring, discussion groups and others.

All content, recording of classes and publication on the platform is done by the edtech team, made up of 64 people. Later this year, Nubbi intends to add more courses to the platform in partnership with universities and other players.

When hired by a company, Nubbi algo licenses the educational platform to train employees, giving them the possibility of uploading content developed by the organization itself or creating content on demand.

“We have now started translating our content that has the most subscribers into Spanish and English through a team of translators. Later on, we will translate all available courses, via artificial intelligence”, Lemos said.

Plans for scaling

Currently in discussions with some venture funds, Nubbi is preparing to raise its first round later this year: a series A between 10 million Brazilian reais ($2 million) and 20 million Brazilian reais ($4 million) for a 10% to 15% stake in the company. With the startup in traction, the investment will be used to produce more content and gain scale, or “put more gas in the rocket”, as Lemos puts it.

“We grew at a 60% margin per year. In 2021 we sold 9 million Brazilian reais ($1,8 million), and this year the plan is to jump to 15 million ($3 million)”, he said. The – let’s say, more aggressive – goal, according to him, is to earn 50 million Brazilian reais ($10 million) by 2024.

A few months ago, Nubbi brought in a new partner, not from the education area, but music. Jorge Barcelos, from Brazilian country duo Jorge & Mateus, will be the brand ambassador and will invest 1 million Brazilian reais ($200,000) worth of his image use and content developed by him for the startup.

Gabriel Tatibana (left), CMO and cofounder; Jorge Barcelos, musician and partner; Marcus Lemos, CEO and cofounder; and Leandro Maldonado, partner and investor in Nubbi

The musician, who was a history and geography teacher before being famous, already had an online course on the Nubbi platform in which he shares his work routine and interviews experts in the music scene. His entry in the edtech should boost the opening of new online courses, in addition to attracting even more students.

The startup currently has 80,000 individual students in 11 countries. In the B2BC market, there are more than 3 million users.

(translation by Leandro Miguel Souza)

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